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So what's the big deal with HD-Audio tracks on bluray discs?

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  • So what's the big deal with HD-Audio tracks on bluray discs?

    Can you really tell that much difference between good old DVD-format DD/DTS track and the high-resolution audio on bluray discs?

    Is it worth spending bunches of money? ("bunches" used purposefully here-- by it I mean to assume that it means whatever amount YOU would consider "bunches" to upgrade.. in other words, an upgrade that you had to save up for and really consider before diving into. Because that's what it means to me.)

    I'm already tempted to at least do a small upgrade of my AVR to support DTS decoding. If nothing else, I can always revert back to the "core audio tracks" on a bluray disc. However there are some bluray discs that ONLY have a DTS-based track (grrrr). My AVR can only decode DD. But I don't know if it's worth the time, effort, energy, and hassle of upgrading ALL the various chain components to properly handle HDMI JUST to get the HD-audio tracks. Just upgrading to a newer (but still older) receiver would be less expensive than a new fancy all-format model and I'd just stick it in the optical/coax audio output and keep it OUT of the video chain... (and I could then get a nice sounding NON-hdmi receiver)

    To answer questions in advance, I have no plans to expand beyond 5.2.. I'm quite happy with 5.2, and frankly my room couldn't accept any more channels anyway. I would want to at least upgrade to a receiver that supported DTS. The DVD standard required DD but allowed DTS as an alternative track. I thought bluray did as well, but I know at least The Princess Bride on bluray has only a DTS-based track (DTS HD and DTS core). Which is quite frustrating to me, but such is the progress of technology. :)

    I really don't want to upgrade receivers at all and just ADD a bluray player (oppo bdp80), but then I'd be left to listening to DTS-based bluray discs in all their 2-channel stereo glory.... hahahaha... :hissyfit:

    What is the consensus here? I'll probably also post this on a few forums to get as wide an input as possible...

    thanks!
    ..dane

    ps.- for what it's worth, I currently have a 12yr old Marantz 85wpc 5.1 receiver and 6yr old AV123 Rockets. A decent setup by most standards... not uber-high-performance, but not built-in TV speakers either by any means...
    (The first to sport a signature on TCAforum..)
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is carrying a great burden." - Philo of Alexandria
    "Love God and be nice to people." - Brooks Everett of CBC
    d&k's webpage

  • #2
    Just get a simple $300-$400 receiver with HDMI. I don't see why ALL the various chain components need to be upgraded. Those HDMI receivers have plenty of analog inputs.

    It may not make a huge impact in sound difference but at the same time you'll know you aren't losing anything. Otherwise 2-channel stereo glory wouldn't bug you.

    Comment


    • #3
      Blu ray audio IS noticeably better.
      For HT it is great.
      The Blu ray concerts are also amazing.
      How much that is worth is up to you.
      I think it is increasingly "worth it" for more people.

      Mike
      HT Gear (AVS Link)
      Rk: MA WR-37-32
      Pwr: 20A, Surge-X SEQ, M1500-UPS
      Proj: JVC RS20, 128" 2.4:1 CaradaBW, ISCOIIIL, CineSlide, RadianceXE
      Cbl: DirectTV C31/700 Genie receiver
      Rec: 5308CI + XPA-3
      BR: Oppo BDP-103
      Gm: 360 Pro
      LR/C: RS1KSig/RSC200Sig
      S/R: RSS300/RS250MkII
      Sub: SVS PB12-Ultra/2
      Off: HRT MS DAC, USP-1, UPA-2, ERC-1, Ultra10, WAF-1 Ninja+No-Rez
      Off2: Gizmo, WAF-1
      TCA: 3x Gizmo 1.0or,5x v1.0M; 5xWAF-1

      Comment


      • #4
        +1 for Mike.

        I upgraded my AVR from Pio 919 to 1018 to get hdmi, and Panny dvd player from SD to the BD35 for BD. It was well worth it, though some of that I attribute to the better version of MCACC in the 1018.

        Hell, I just spent 2x the total amount above on just getting the Ref 3s I bought to the Skiing Ninja for upgrades. So in comparison, the upgrade to AVR and dvd player to support BD was both 'cheap', and in my mind, well worth it.
        There's a fine line between gardening and Madness.
        -Cliff Clavin

        Comment


        • #5
          Also, you will find people with opinions on 5.1 vs. 7.1, but I would focus on the lossless aspect of the audio, not the "5" or "7" designation.

          By 5.2, I think you actually mean (?) 5.1 with 2 subwoofers, correct?
          There isn't actually different information going to each sub (I know that is possible, but not common in setups).

          You can find deals on ~$100 BR players, so you could always dip your toe in and see how you like it and upgrade later.

          I purchased a Panasonic BD60 for my in-laws, just so we could bring Netflix BR's down for the holidays. Very worth it.

          Mike
          HT Gear (AVS Link)
          Rk: MA WR-37-32
          Pwr: 20A, Surge-X SEQ, M1500-UPS
          Proj: JVC RS20, 128" 2.4:1 CaradaBW, ISCOIIIL, CineSlide, RadianceXE
          Cbl: DirectTV C31/700 Genie receiver
          Rec: 5308CI + XPA-3
          BR: Oppo BDP-103
          Gm: 360 Pro
          LR/C: RS1KSig/RSC200Sig
          S/R: RSS300/RS250MkII
          Sub: SVS PB12-Ultra/2
          Off: HRT MS DAC, USP-1, UPA-2, ERC-1, Ultra10, WAF-1 Ninja+No-Rez
          Off2: Gizmo, WAF-1
          TCA: 3x Gizmo 1.0or,5x v1.0M; 5xWAF-1

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm with Mike on this. I've found a very nice difference is bass coherence, overall slam factor and better imaging. I love the couple of Bluray concerts I have. For the longest time I think the hardware was well ahead of the software (music) and would reveal the flaws in the source material. Now, with greater bandwidth on the BD's, we can start to catch up again to the hardware. Of course, there are plenty of crappy BD's that just put the same material as the DVD's, but man when you find a well recorded disk, it's a dramatic difference to me.
            LCR: Gedlee Abbeys for LR and Nathan for Center Surround & rear 4 x Sho10's
            Subs: 4 x 18.2
            Electronics: Marantz SR7002, Acurus 200x3 (LCR), PS3, HTPC, CDP300, Mits HC1500, Elite Peregrine 2.35 156" Acousticpro4k

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks all for your input.. I'm still undecided.. the whole money thing...

              Originally posted by Mep
              Just get a simple $300-$400 receiver with HDMI. I don't see why ALL the various chain components need to be upgraded. Those HDMI receivers have plenty of analog inputs.
              Two points to reply to.. First, a "simple $300-400 receiver" is a whole lot of money right now. We just spend an aweful lot on the new TV and various bits and pieces related to that moving all the source equipment to a remote cabinet and buying a new credenza to go under the TV... That's why I posed the question as, "assuming whatever you needed to spend for a new receciver was a significant amount to you." 300-400 may not be a whole lot to some, but in our situation it's a whole lot. My question was trying to level the playing field of responses.. :)

              Second, I specifically want a setup where the AVR does not have to be on all the time. That limits me to two things: a receiver that adequately supports HDMI pass-through in standby mode, or a DVDO Edge or Duo or some other piece of equipment that has a secondary audio-only HDMI output that automatically negotiates the audio stream with the AVR if it's on, or the TV if it's not. The former limitation either adds cost or limits my selection. The second option also adds cost.

              I admit to being pretty wishy washy about it all right now. My fallback option that's actually looking pretty good right now, is to just get an older non-HDMI receiver that supports DD and DTS and just enjoy "core" audio tracks from bluray for the time being. I'm thinking that this approach could yield me a higher quality reciever at a lower cost. I could do HD-audio tracks some other time...

              Trying to get the most bang for the buck.. takes a lot of research! :)

              cheers,
              ..dane
              (The first to sport a signature on TCAforum..)
              "Be kind, for everyone you meet is carrying a great burden." - Philo of Alexandria
              "Love God and be nice to people." - Brooks Everett of CBC
              d&k's webpage

              Comment


              • #8
                $300-$400 is a lot of money of course but considering the price of some of receivers....
                It just the minium amount to get something with the basis needed functions. No need to get carried away with anything more.

                Does your tv not have multiple HDMI inputs? What sources do you want to put into the tv while the AVR is off? Some cable boxes will put HDMI video out while also spitting out digital to an AVR. A simple dvd player can be hooked up directly to the tv. It seems to me you just need the AVR for bluray and everything else can be outside of that chain.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mep
                  $300-$400 is a lot of money of course but considering the price of some of receivers....
                  It just the minium amount to get something with the basis needed functions. No need to get carried away with anything more.

                  Does your tv not have multiple HDMI inputs? What sources do you want to put into the tv while the AVR is off? Some cable boxes will put HDMI video out while also spitting out digital to an AVR. A simple dvd player can be hooked up directly to the tv. It seems to me you just need the AVR for bluray and everything else can be outside of that chain.
                  Hey Mep..

                  It gets confusing since I have an external video processor/hub (DVDO VP30). So I was planning on pairing it with an Oppo BDP-80. So the Oppo will be set to Source Direct mode so that standard DVDs will be spit out 480i so the VP30 can do its thing. That also inherently means that 1080p24 material will be spit out 1080p24-- a good thing. EXCEPT, that means the analog outputs are DISABLED with 24hz video formats.

                  If the Oppo could be native-RESOLUTION but not necessarily native FRAME-RATE, then I'd be ALL SET. I'd run HDMI to the AVR with high def everything, and I'd run component outputs into the VP30. DVD's would come out 480i, bluray's out (component) at 1080i, and the VP30 would process everything properly. Turn on the AVR and HDMI video would be passed through 1080p and the receiver would handle all the high-def stuff...

                  I've asked Oppo how likely such a feature modification could be made. Currently they only offer a blanket "Source Direct" which forces native resolution AND native framerate. If I could force only native iresolution but keep 60Hz output (so that the analog video outputs always remain active), I'd be in fat city...

                  I'm at least looking at a new receiver for DTS duty.. I'd like to try and get a semi-decent one that CAN handle MPCM HDMI audio, even if I don't get to use it initially...

                  Thanks for the reply!

                  cheers,
                  ..dane
                  (The first to sport a signature on TCAforum..)
                  "Be kind, for everyone you meet is carrying a great burden." - Philo of Alexandria
                  "Love God and be nice to people." - Brooks Everett of CBC
                  d&k's webpage

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Even if your receiver can't decode Dobly/DTS HD, isn't the sound quality on Blu Ray still higher than that on DVD?

                    I can swear I hear a HUGE difference, and I'm only running 5.1, 100 wpc.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gwilks98
                      Even if your receiver can't decode Dobly/DTS HD, isn't the sound quality on Blu Ray still higher than that on DVD?

                      I can swear I hear a HUGE difference, and I'm only running 5.1, 100 wpc.
                      From what I understand, yes. The "core" DD/DTS tracks are higher quality than DVD. But unfortunately for me, my receiver cannot decode DTS, which many bluray discs seem to be encoded in today...

                      I'm either looking to get a decent receiver that can do the full LPCM lossless handling, or save some dough and get an older receiver that can at LEAST to DTS.. Depending on whether or not I need to upgrade my VP30 to an Edge is going to make that decision for me... (sigh)

                      ..dane
                      (The first to sport a signature on TCAforum..)
                      "Be kind, for everyone you meet is carrying a great burden." - Philo of Alexandria
                      "Love God and be nice to people." - Brooks Everett of CBC
                      d&k's webpage

                      Comment

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